Posts Tagged ‘dublin’


Thursday, September 15th, 2022 | Travel

I was recently offered a PhD by Trinity College Dublin so last month we quit our jobs, put our stuff into storage and moved to Ireland. It did not go well. Dublin is expierancing a massive housing crisis and there is nowhere to live. I will blog about that later, for now, here are some of the highlights.

The crossing over to Ireland was relatively pain-free. I have heard horror stories about trying to get into France but thanks to the Common Travel Area, things are still pretty chill in the Irish sea. Importing goods may be another matter. It was even easier on the way back: we just drove off the ferry and into Wales.

A lot of the coastline around the Dublin Bay is very picturesque. Especially Sandy Cove in DĂșn Laoghaire. We stopped by James Joyce’s tower (the location of the opening scene in Ulysses) where the museum curator was shocked to discovered I had actually read Joyce’s novels.

We had to be conscious of budget so there wasn’t much fine dining. But we did check out both Abra Kababra and Supermac’s, both of which were surprisingly good.

Transport around Dublin is a mixed bag. There is a lot of traffic and pedestrians have to wait for ages at pelican crossings. There are commuter trains, but the real public transport to be had is by living on the DART (an electrified light rail that runs along the coast) or one of the two Luas lines (the tram system).


Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 | Books

1914 was a simple time. Back then, you could actually work out what was happening in a James Joyce novel. This is why the description of the book includes the following helpful line.

This book holds none of the difficulties of Joyce’s later novels, such as Ulysses, yet in its way it is just as radical.

It is indeed more comprehensible. The opening dialogue of each story may not be quite as verbose as a Jane Austen novel, but you can pretty much work out what is going on within the first half of the story (the book itself being a collection of short stories).

In some ways though, this takes away a little piece of the James Joyce magic. The descriptions, by being less surreal, become a little less vivid as well.



Thursday, July 11th, 2013 | Books

I first attempted to read Ulysses while we were in Dublin last year, as it seemed culturally appropriate, but having made it through the first part I soon found myself overwhelmed by the complexity and seamless tradition of abstract and concrete ideas expressed throughout the novel.

Not to be beaten though, I recently gave it another go. Now that I have made it all the way through, looking back on what I’ve done with my life so far, reaching the end could be the most impressive achievement.

I started off making the amateurish mistake of trying to follow the plot and work out what was going on. As Joyce darts randomly between things that are actually happing and the various thoughts that flow from each of the characters, discerning reality from imagination is a tricky business indeed.

A much better approach is to simply lay back and enjoy the language. What wondrous language it is though, a beautiful river of descriptive and colourful English in which a lexicon of over 30,000 words are employed in a novel only 265,000 words long. Joyce constantly switches between writing styles while presenting a vivid picture of life in Dublin in 1904.

It was also interesting to find out that the novel had been twice adapted into a film. Interesting, because I can’t think of a novel that would be less well suited to such an adaptation. The beautiful of Ulysses is in the language and in the picture painted in the mind of the reader – filling in the gaps surely could only damage the experience.


Where is the Daily Mail when you need them

Thursday, September 6th, 2012 | Photos

What kind of monster would do this…

StayCity Serviced Apartments

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 | Reviews, Travel

While in Dublin, we stayed at StayCity Serviced Apparents, so I thought I would share my thoughts on them.

When I originally tried to book online with Laterooms, it told me they had run out of available rooms and I had to call the Laterooms call centre. I did, and they confirmed there were no more rooms available, but suggested they could book me in at another StayCity just a few minutes away – and offer that I accepted.

Having turned up at said location, I was then told that we had actually been put in the original location. They were very nice about it and put is in a free taxi to the original location, where we found they had allocated a two bedroom apartment to us (couldn’t make use of it though as Elina insisted on sleeping in the same bed).

It was a bit run down, but when the serviced apartments I have to compare against it are Warwick and Oxford, you probably can’t expect the same standards. I can’t help but feel they were falling a little too much into stereotypes though by not providing any tall glasses, yet providing several types of wine glasses.

It was rather cold at first too as they had most of the windows opened when we arrived, so it took a while to warm up (and was never overly warm). It was also rather nosier than I was expecting when it came to trying to sleep.

The location was fantastic though – it was literally over the river from Temple Bar, so for the price and location, it still comes up as a good deal. Their wifi was good too. You do need a pass per device, but I had no problem streaming high-quality video.


Monday, September 3rd, 2012 | Photos, Travel

To make the most of the bank holiday weekend, we headed over to Dublin. Despite having been all round Europe, I had never been to Ireland, so it seemed like good choice for somewhere to visit.

While there we made it round the Tall Ship Festival, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Christ Church, Dublin Castle, the Wax Museum and the National Library. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the National Museum or Natural History Museum as they are closed on Mondays (it wasn’t a bank holiday in Ireland).

We also took in the nightlife at Temple Bar with a few different restaurants and pubs around that area, as well as the street artists. We eventually settled in at really cool place named the Bison Bar that had saddles for stools and bison and dear heads on the walls, as well as a superb range of whiskey (not that I benefited from such a collection).

Best moment? Definitely meeting SpongeBob at the wax museum!

It’s a great city, and well worth a visit, though given it has a flight time comparable with Paris, and I found Paris more beautiful and about the same price, I think I would opt to head back to the continent for a short break.


Friday, August 31st, 2012 | Books, Distractions

Being in Dublin and going round the generically tourist bits, you can’t help but notice there is a lot of stuff about James Joyce – he is one of the major literary figures in the country’s history after all.

So having some time to kill while we waited for our flight back, I decided to attempt to read Ulysses. I use the word attempt not to suggest I was trying to read it all in one sitting, but to suggest I was seeing if I could read it at all. After all, Elina had said she struggled, and her language skills are significantly beyond my own.

I’ve so far made it through the first part, of which there are three, but the first is much shorter. Even that has been hard going – I had to head over to Wikipedia at regular intervals to check my understanding matched up with theirs! I seem to be roughly following though, so all is well.